One certainly had to make some tough choices when picking a concert to attend last weekend. Jack White, Mavis Staples, Dave Matthews, Code Orange, well there was something for everybody. But Friday Night June 1, PPG Paints Arena hosted the biggest star of them all, the multi-talented Justin Timberlake. Justin has been a huge act since his boyband N’Sync days and his popularity has only grown as his music has explored many genres, he has entertained repeatedly on SNL and Jimmy Fallon, and he has even shown his chops as an actor. But Justin never ignores his roots, the pop music icon can still dance and sing during heavily choreographed routines with the best because arguably he is the best.
Utilizing a front, middle, and rear stage, Timberlake and band/dancers (The Tenessee Kids) danced along the paths that led all the way to the rear of the arena creating a theater in the round setting complete with trees that go thematically with his “Man of the Woods” Tour (although I would argue heavily with the stage designer that the trees were anything more than sight blockers). From the moment the band entered via a tunnel in the front stage, all the way to the end, the crowd was enraptured with the awe at the scope of the performance. From getting up close and personal with fans to a realistic campfire for an acoustic set that included covers of Fleetwood Mac, Lauryn Hill, The Beatles and John Denver with his, “no so background singers”.
As JT proclaimed that tonight Pittsburgh would be dubbed, “Littsburgh” he even drank shots with the band as a prelude to “Drink You Away” and also played DJ as he mixed his song “My Love” with “We Dem Boyz” and “Black and Yellow” as a nod to hometown boy Wiz Kalifa. The pacing of the show was obviously well planned out from choreographed dancing to DJ, to an acoustic set, to solo performance, to even a dance-off in the VIP section. It was so action-packed that Timberlake may have overdone it when a slight limp could be seen towards the end of the show.
Highlights definitely included “Sexy Back”, “Senorita”, “Mirrors”, and “Rock Your Body”. If you missed him this time around you can catch JT when he returns to PPG September 25.
All photos ©2018 AWeldingphoto